A wildly successful trip to Massachusetts!
Scott and I flew up together on Friday afternoon. Jess and Nate whisked him away to Amherst, and Alissa and I headed to Boston. It was a great chance for us to get caught up before the wedding weekend began. The first stop was the Four Seasons Hotel, where Kate and Jaime were spending the weekend. (A wonderful gift!) After a gleeful reunion with the brides and Cherie (Jaime's sister), and a quick change of attire (Kate was parading around in her dress), we set out in our matching "Collins Peters Pirates" t-shirts that Jaime had printed up for us. The backs read "Putting the F-U-N back in Wedding" - they're great. Dinner was quick, because we didn't want to be late for our manicure and pedicure appointments. By 8 pm, we were sitting in massage chairs, soaking our feet in bubble baths and reading fashion magazine quizzes to each other. I contemplated getting a serene/docile color, but then I reasoned that since I only get this kind of treatment every 3 years or so, I should go for something memorable. So my toenails are silver and my fingernails are Barbie-doll pink. I *still* get a kick out of looking at them.
We did a few shots at a bar with two of Jaime's friends, and then retired to the Four Seasons, ordered room service dessert and breakfast for the morning, and crashed.
We spent Saturday morning in the hotel, enjoying our beautiful breakfast, putting on makeup, deciding which jewelery to wear, etc. We left for Wellesley around 1 and met up with Kate's family to help decorate the College Club dining room. Instead of having one big wedding cake, the brides put one little cake, decorated with flowers, as the centerpiece of each table. Lovely! By 3:30, everyone had arrived and we took photos, including piratey arrgh-ing photos. The ceremony started around 4:30.
The ceremony gets its own paragraph. We stood in a circle on the grass. Kate and Jaime were on opposite sides, facing each other. Kate's brother Peter welcomed everyone; I played my violin* while Kate's little sister Grace scattered rose petals around the circle; and then Peter invited those present to offer their thoughts and wishes to the brides. The brides gave their vows to each other - Jaime read a poem she had written, and Kate told a fable. Misty eyes ensued. Peter asked us to "speak now or forever hold your peace", we all gasped dramatically (as instructed) at the mere thought of objecting to this wedding, Peter announced the union, and they kissed each other. Beautiful.
* I was nervous and trembling and didn't sound as good as I do when I practice alone in my living room... but I'm still glad I got to play for them.
Cocktails, hors d'ouevres, dinner, dancing to Peter's band (a fabulous Blues-Brothers-inspired affair - really fun!), and a stroll around campus with Alissa, Merritt and Mike. We waded in Lake Waban, took in the new campus center, reminisced about Beebe's pirate flag. Alissa and I left around midnight. (We did NOT intrude on the brides at the Four Seasons again and stayed at a nearby Marriot instead.)
So that's it! That's their wedding! They're married! Yaaaay! I'll post pictures when they're available. I regret not taking any.
Sunday morning, Alissa drove me to South Station where I boarded a Peter Pan bound for Springfield. Scott picked me up and drove me the rest of the way to Amherst. His parents greeted me very warmly; I've been waiting to meet them for a long time now, and it felt so nice to be welcomed into their home! We had lunch at the "Taste of Amherst" festival that was happening downtown and chatted with friends we met. Around 3, we drove out to a lake (whose name I forget), rented a pair of canoes, and paddled out to see a bald eagle nest... complete with real bald eagles! It was a beautiful, sunny day, and it felt wonderful to be out on the water. For dinner, we took Whole Foods salads up to the top of a mountain (Sugarloaf? I'm terrible with names.) and ate while the sun set on the valley around us. Hard to beat. Scott and I spent the night at The Moan and Dove with Jess, Nate and Mike. Click here for a .pdf of their incredible beer selection. It was "Voted the #1 Place to Have a Beer in 2006 by BeerAdvocate.com reviewers", and I think it lives up to its title.
Monday began with breakfast on the deck and continued with coffee at Rao's Coffee and then take-out Bueno Y Santo burritos, which we ate with Scott's dad at the school where he teaches. Scott showed me the houses he used to inhabit, the salamander tunnels built especially for a rare species' safe traversing of a busy road, and Puffer's Pond, where we went swimming. We met up with his parents at a local farm for homemade ice cream; I tasted the asparagus-almond, but opted for blueberry-maple in the end. Scott's ginger-peppermint was great. At home, I perused Scott's baby albums while we disgested. (He and Julie used to be so blonde!) We lingered over dinner and fresh strawberry shortcake before retiring for the evening.
In the morning, Scott's dad dropped us off at the Hartford airport for an early, uneventful trip back to DC.
MANY thanks to Mr. and Mrs. McNiven for their hospitality! Thanks to Alissa and the brides for orchestrating such a wonderful weekend. And, of course, congratulations and good wishes to Kate and Jaime in their new marriage.